What is ‘web3’, the new internet age?

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Paris (AFP) – A modern concept that stimulates both the technological and communication sphere, “Web 3” is being presented by its proponents as the new version of the Internet, more decentralized and based on “blockchain,” the technology behind NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

“It seems more of a marketing statement than a fact at the moment,” however, Tesla’s president, Elon Musk, criticized at the end of December for emphasizing the ubiquitous character of “web3,” like other popular concepts such as the metaverse. try to explain.

. What is the evolution of the Internet that embodies “Web 3”?

“Web 3” will be the third era in the history of the Internet, according to its defenders, Web 1.0, which prevailed from the beginning of the nineties until the mid-2000s, and Web 2.0, dominant since the 2010 decade, ten years.

It is embodied by actors such as Yahoo! Or AOL, Web 1.0 Refers to the early uses of the Internet with its static pages that essentially allow information to be consulted, or emails sent.

web evolution Gal Roma AFP

Web 2.0 represents the age of the social and interactive Internet, where users can produce and publish multimedia content. It enshrines the reign of a handful of big central platforms like Google, Amazon or Facebook.

A concept attributed to Gavin Wood, co-founder of the Ethereum “blockchain,” “web3” refers to the idea of ​​a decentralized internet, where users control their own data, without the help of intermediaries.

Added to the number three (“three” in English) meaning “free,” calls for the return of a more state-independent Internet such as network giants, as was the case in the “original.”

What technology allows this development?

Closely related to the “blockchain” is Web 3, a type of massive digital record that is shared among a large number of users, without a central authority and considered untrustworthy, as it lists the entire history of transactions.

Born after the 2008 financial crisis, the most famous “blockchain” being Bitcoin and its associated cryptocurrency, is completely virtual. Since then many other companies such as Ethereum, Solana or Polygon have been launched.

Sealed projects and applications
Projects and applications marked as “Web 3” rely on “blockchains” such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), non-reproducible digital trust certificates Justin Thales, AFP/Archives

Projects and applications stamped with “Web 3” depend on these “blockchains”, such as non-fungible tokens (NFT), non-reproducible digital trust certificates that derive their value from the real or virtual object to which they are attached..

It is enough to give the Internet user the same amount of decision-making power as the ownership of what he makes or consumes on the network.

“With web3+, people create value but also capture some of it, which changes everything for artists, for example. It’s their web, where they take back control of creativity and what they ‘own’,” Nicholas explains to AFP. Sorare, a French start-up to exchange online games in the form of NFT.

“This is what will make it possible to reinvent a whole range of industries, whether it is art, music or sports,” he adds.

Is the metaverse part of “web3”?

Although it is related, in particular, to “blockchain” technology and the ability to hold digital assets such as NFTs within it, “web3” and the metaverse describe two different concepts.

Pushed to the front of the stage in the summer of 2021, the metaverse defines a digital and social world, supposed to expand physical reality via augmented or virtual reality, and move the internet from 2D to 3D.

The Basics to Get to Know Metaverse
The Basics to Get to Know Metaverse John Saeki Agence France-Presse / The Archives

Is its promise enough to combine it with the “Web 3” revolution, when metaverse is carried especially by Meta (Facebook), a pioneer in Web 2.0 and a symbol of a central vision of the Internet?

“The answer will be given in several years because today, +web3+, we still don’t know what it is,” sums it up with AFP Julien Pillot, who specializes in the digital and cultural industries.

“Either we are on the pure vision” of a completely decentralized Internet, or on the basis of a definition based solely on “the ability to immerse,” he adds, predicting a future “inevitable debate” between the two visions.

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